Awakening Joy, the book I am currently reading as I start my day, offers 10 steps toward happiness. I read #9 this morning: “Compassion: The Natural Expression of a Joyful Heart.” The chapter is about service to others and the joy that brings. Jesus teaches us to love others and I believe that in loving others we love ourselves. Here are a couple of quotes from spiritual masters that are shared in the book:
“The only ones among you who will be truly happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.”
– Albert Schweitzer
“Charity is really self-interest masquerading under the form of altruism…I give myself the pleasure of pleasing others.” – Anthony de Mello
The Dalai Lama playfully speaks of working to benefit others as “selfish altruism”.
Author, James Baraz, tells a wonderful story of one of his childhood heroes, Fiorello LaGuardia, mayor of New York in the early 40’s. I will write it here as it is in the book and as it brought tears to my eyes:
“(LaGuardia) was officiating in misdemeanor court in New York City. A man who had stolen bread to feed his family came before him charged as a thief. LaGuardia fined the man ten dollars, then turned to the courtroom and said, “I’m fining everyone in this courtroom fifty cents for living in a city where a man has to steal bread in order to eat.” The defendant left with #47.50 in his pocket.”
Today is turn-over day at the resort. Kate and her daughter’s Maddie and Emma will be cleaning nine cabins. Jerry and my husband Bernie will be preparing the grounds – collecting trash, mowing, weed-whipping, cleaning grills, etc. I have been designated to take all the throw rugs out of the cabins and run into Bemidji to wash them at the Laundromat. By three o’clock, we will all be done and ready to welcome the new guests. Bernie and I are grateful to be part of this adventure of my daughter and her family. It has taught me more about the joy of service than anything.